Reparations bill proposed by DC council member to establish task force, payment fund

D.C. lawmakers have introduced new legislation that aims to study reparation proposals for Black residents "directly wronged" by slavery, institutional racism and more.

Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie introduced the Reparations Foundation Fund and Task Force Establishment Act of 2023 along with nine other council members. 

The bill says the typical white household in D.C. has a net worth that is 81 times greater than the typical Black household.

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McDuffie writes that the legislation seeks to address centuries of government-sanctioned policies and practices that exploited Black people, and it will take government-sanctioned action to "atone."

"We do not live in a post racial society, and racial equality has not been achieved. If ever we are to achieve racial equity in this country, it will require an official recognition of the role of government-sanctioned slavery, segregation, and racism that denied wealth-building opportunities to Black people," McDuffie writes.

McDuffie outlines three main goals of the bill:

  1. Establish a nine member task force to study reparations proposals for African Americans directly affected by slavery, Jim Crow, and structural and institutional racism.
  2. Require D.C. to establish a slavery-era database to aid the task force in its study of reparations proposals.
  3. Establish a Reparations Foundation Fund to be used for the payment of reparations based on the findings of the task force.

READ MORE: White student sues Howard University for $2 million over racial discrimination

McDuffie previously introduced the Reparations Task Force Establishment Act of 2020 with a similar outline, but the bill died in committee.

Critics of the bill believe that, while it may pass the D.C. Council, it would be struck down by conservatives in Congress.

Read the bill in full below.